CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Additional Chief Secretary and Revenue department to issue necessary instructions to all Collectors immediately to settle the award amounts arising out of acquisition of lands for public purposes within six months, failing which, necessary instructions are to be issued for initiating action against the officers concerned.
Justice D Krishnakumar issued the directive while disposing of a writ petition from G Sekar and G Prabakaran. They prayed for a directive to the authorities concerned to determine the present market value for the land unauthorisedly acquired over and above the notified extent in Devaneri village in Tirukkazhukundram taluk for widening the ECR.
When the matter came up on April 29, government advocate produced a copy of an order of the Collector wherein, it was seen that the compensation had been determined by him at `18.35 lakh as per the earlier direction of the court, with reasonable interest. The judge directed the State to pay the sum within a week with 15 per cent interest from August 2015. The judge reduced the costs of `1 lakh imposed earlier, to `20,000.
Taking note of the above facts and also that in many cases compensation had not been paid by the department for several years, the judge directed the State to instruct Collectors to settle compensation as expeditiously as possible so that owners are not driven from pillar to post to get the sum.